AFA on the Issues
One of the Air Force Association’s primary missions is to advocate and educate Congress and the American public on behalf of the Air Force. In July, AFA supported an Air Mobility Caucus Breakfast on Capitol Hill, and AMC Commander, General Carlton D. Everhart was the keynote speaker. Also attending were Co-Chairs Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA) and Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) and Air National Guard Chief, Lt Gen L. Scott Rice.
Also in July, AFA personnel: Keith Zuegel, AFA Senior Director of Government Relations, Mark Tarpley, Oklahoma State President, and AFA interns Olivia Jarvis and Trent Briscoe made their way to Capitol Hill. They met with Congressmen, personal staff members, professional staff members, and Air Force fellows to learn about some of the most important issues facing Congress and to advocate for issues on behalf of the Air Force. The group discussed an array of issues including the Space Corps, the Air Force personnel deficit, a potential privatization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the need for recapitalization and modernization of Air Force weapons systems.
This month AFA attended a reception hosted by an organization called Mission: Readiness on Capitol Hill. The purpose of the reception was to honor general officers who currently serve on Capitol Hill as elected representatives. Among the honorees noted were Lt Gen (Ret.) Jack Bergman, USMC, Brig Gen Steve Stivers, USA, and Brig Gen (Ret.) Don Bacon, USAF. Mission: Readiness is an organization that promotes healthy living and good citizenship in our youth by providing them mentorship and advocacy from retired general officers and admirals.
For the past 55 years without fail, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has been passed. Two versions of the NDAA are created, one in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate. The two versions are then formed into one NDAA at a conference where the senior leadership of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) reach an agreement on differences in their respective bills. HR 2810, the House version of the NDAA, passed the House of Representatives, overwhelmingly. In this bill, Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL) introduced a section that authorized the creation of a new branch of the military, the Space Corps.
The Space Corp leadership would report to the Secretary of the Air Force, however, it would be separate from the Air Force. The Senate version of the legislation, which has passed the SASC, but not yet made it to a vote on the Senate floor, did not include authorization for the creation of a Space Corps. The Department of Defense and the Department of the Air Force, in letters from the Honorable James Mattis and the Honorable Heather Wilson, have opposed the creation of a Space Corps at this time. There is still a great deal of study and analysis left to be done before a major and costly reorganization is executed. The Air Force Association continues to support the Air Force’s stance on the issue.